Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Short are the triumphs of wit, when it is supposed to be the vehicle of malice. By whatever arts you may at first attract the attention, you can hold the esteem and secure the hearts of others only by amiable difpofitions and the accomplishments of the mind. These are the qualities whose influence will last, when the lustre of all that once sparkled and dazzled has passed away.

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Valuable Opportunities once lost can never be

recalled.

L ET not any one vainly imagine, that the time and

valuable opportunities which are now loft, can hereafter be recalled at will ; or that he who has run out his youthful days in dissipation and pleasure, will have it in his power to stop when he pleases, and make a wiser use of his riper years. Yet this is too generally the fallacious hope that flatters the youth in his fenfual indulgencies, and leads him infensibly on in the treacherous ways of vice, till it is too late to return. There are few, who, at one plunge, fo totally immerge in pleasures, as to drown at once all power of reason and conscience : They promise themselves, that they can indulge their appetites to such a point only, and can check and turn them back when they have run their allotted race. I do not indeed fay, that there never have been persons in whom the strong ferment of youthful lufts may have happily subsided, and who may have brought forth fruits of amendment, and difplayed many eminent virtues. God forbid ! that even the most licentious vices of youth should be absolutely incorrigible. But I may venture to affirm, that the instances in this case have been so rare, that it is very dangerous for any one to trust to the experiment, upon a presumption that he shall add to the number. The only sure way to make any proficiency in a virtuous life, is to set out in it betimes. It is then, when our inclinations are trained up in the way that they should lead us, that custom soon makes the best habits the most agreeable; the ways of wisdom become the ways of pleasantness, and every step we advance, they grow more easy and more delightful. But, on the contrary, when vicious, headftrong appetites are to be reclaimed, and inveterate habits to be corrected, what security

can

can we give ourselves, that we shall have either inclination, resolution, or power, to stop and turn back, and recover the right way from which we have fo. long and so widely wandered, and enter upon a new life, when perhaps our strength now faileth us, and we know not how near we may be to our journey's end ? These reflections I have suggested principally for the fake of those, who, allowing themselves in greater indulgencies than are consistent with a liberal and virtuous education, give evident proofs that they are not sufficiently aware of the dangerous encroachments, and the peculiar deceitfulness, of pleasurable fin. Happy for them, would they once feriously confider their ways! and no time can be more proper, than when these folemn seasons of recollection and religious difcipline should particularly difpofe them to serioufness and thought. They would then discover, that though they are awhile carried gently and supinely down the smooth stream of pleasure, yet foon the torrent will grow too violent to be ftemmed; the waves will arife, and dash them upon rocks, or fink them in whirlpools. It is therefore the part of prudence to stop short while they may, and to divert their courfe into a different channel, which, whatever obstructions and difficulties they may labour with at first, will every day become more practicable and pleasing, and will affuredly carry them to a ferene and secure haven.

On

On Benevolence and Humanity.

YOUTH

TOUTH is the proper season of cultivating the be

nevolent and humane affections. As a great part of your happiness is to depend on the connections which you form with others, it is of high importance that you acquire betimes the temper and the manners which will render such connections comfortable. Let a sense of justice be the foundation of all social qualities. In your most early intercourse with the world, and even in your youthful amusements, let no unfairness be found. Engrave or your mind that sacred rule, of doing in all things to others, according as you wish that they should do unto you. For this end, impress yourselves with a deep sense of the original and natural equality of men. Whatever advantages of birth or fortune you possess, never display them with an oftentatious fuperiority. - Leave the subordinations to rank, to regulate the intercourse of more advanced years. At present it becomes you to act among your companions, as man with man. Remember how unknown to you are the vicissitudes of the world; and how often they, on whom ignorant and contemptuous young men once looked down with scorn, have risen to be their superiors in future years. Compassion is an emotion, of which you never ought to be ashamed. Graceful in youth is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe. Let not ease and indulgence contract your affections, and wrap you up in selfish enjoyment. Accustom yourselves to think of the distreffes of human life; of the folitary cottage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Never sport with pain and distress, in any of your amufements; nor treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.

In order to render yourselves amiable in society, correct 'every appearance of harshness in behaviour. Let that courtesy distinguish your demeanour, which springs

not

not so much from studied politeness, as from a mild and gentle heart. Follow the customs of the world in matters indifferent; but stop when they become sinful. Let your manners be simple and natural; and of course they will be engaging. Affectation is certain deformity. By forming yourselves on fantastic models, and vying with one another in every reigning folly, the young begin with being ridiculous, and end in being vicious.

[merged small][graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »